Tracy Beckerman: Ducking the truth
One of the first things you’re required to do when you’re listing a house is fill out a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. This is where you divulge the condition of your property and anything in or outside the home that might not be in the best of shape or of concern for the buyer. Which led us to wonder.
“Honey, do we have to tell potential buyers about the ducks?” I said as I filled out the form.
“Well, they’re not a permanent part of the property,” he replied.
“That’s what I was thinking,” I said, as I left the line about unwelcome mallard visitors blank.
The problem was, we did, indeed, have ducks. They weren’t full time residents - they were snowbirds. They came up every spring to swim in our pool and stayed a month or so until they flew the coop for another warm weather locale. Larry and Loretta had been visiting us for many, many years, and while they didn’t have a lease or a contract, they had definitely laid claim to our little backyard getaway. Aside from the feathers in the pool, it wasn’t that big of a deal for us and they were much nicer guests than the occasional grumpy backyard woodchuck or family of possums who squatted under our shed without paying rent.
Still, I supposed someone who was buying the house would want to know if their pool annually transformed into a duck pond. The previous owner before us never said boo about the ducks, so either he left it off his Seller’s Disclosure Form or the ducks just decided to move in the same time we did. Of course, there were some obvious reasons why they would come back each year. I’m sure the fact that my daughter routinely threw them a loaf of bread when they arrived might have had something to do with their fondness for our digs.
Surprisingly, this spring when we listed the house, the ducks were a no-show. Was it possible that after 19 years, they’d found a better deal? Maybe a pool with a swim-up bar and all you can eat crackers? Or perhaps one with a spa where they could get their feathers fluffed? Or maybe, Larry and Loretta had split up and neither one got the summer retreat in the divorce.
“Well, since they didn’t come up this year, I don’t think it’s something we need to mention on the form,” I said. “Besides, there’s nowhere on the form where they ask if you have or ever had ducks swimming in your pool.”
“And it’s not like they ever broke anything,” said my husband. “They’ve always been very considerate ducks.”
“That’s right,” I said. “They never asked to borrow our towels or sunscreen or invited themselves to dinner, like some of our other guests.”
We sat silently for a moment.
“I think we should tell them,” he finally said.
“I thinks so, too,” I agreed. “But what should I say?”
“Tell them the ducks like whole wheat bread.”
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